Every so often, the wife and I will have what we call ‘Parent Night’. That’s when we’ll have our parents over for dinner as a way of being able to spend time with them. Plus, it lets them be able to hang out with Baby E (My mom babysits Baby E for us, so she doesn’t really need any more time to hang out with her. She just comes because me and/or Mrs. Revis cooks). On Saturday, my mom and Mrs. Revis’ dad came by for dinner (My dad and stepmom were also invited, but they were in Ann Arbor at the Michigan game). My younger brother came, too, along with his two sons, Baby D and Baby F.
Baby E spends lots of time with her cousins at Grandma’s house, but, since I’m at work when this happens, I don’t really get to see them interacting. It was actually quite interesting. Then, as I watched Baby E handfeed Baby D some of her ‘sketti’, it hit me how lucky she is. As neither me, nor my brothers, are planning on moving away any time soon, she will be able to grow up with her cousins, which is something my brothers and I were unable to do.
My dad’s company transferred him, forcing us to move away from our family before I even started school. Because of how far away we were, we weren’t able to see them very often. If we were lucky, we’d be able to see them once a year, although it usually ended up averaging about once every two years. Eventually, it started feeling less and less like we were family to them, and more and more like we were just people who just came by to visit every once in a while.
It got to the point to where we got sick of it. We wanted to be able to see them more. So, my mom, my brothers, and I moved up to Michigan to be closer to her family (My brothers and I couldn’t really do that for our dad’s side of the family as they are all kind of spread out, while our mom’s family is almost all in, or around, Detroit). I thought to myself before we moved up there, “This is going to be great. I’m finally going to get to spend time with all of my cousins. I’ll be able to make up for all of that lost time. It’ll be like one of our vacation trips up there, only longer.”
Then, we got there, and I quickly realized it was going to be far different than an extended vacation. It wasn’t because I didn’t get along with them, or anything like that. It was because life happens. I had to get a job. They had their own things going on: jobs, or school. They had their own friends and activities. Eventually, I made friends up there. Suddenly, I can’t see them, not because I’m so far away from them, but because our lives didn’t permit us the time to get together.
After around a year, the cost of living (which is much higher in Detroit than it is in Northern Kentucky), forced us to move back down here. It was upsetting, but the reason we moved up there was to see our family more, and we really weren’t doing that as much as we thought we’d be able to do. Now, we’re back to our old schedule of seeing them every year or two. It’s actually been around three years since I last saw members from either my dad’s or my mom’s side. With me not having a stable job for a while, we didn’t have the money to go on a couple of trips. Then, with Baby E being born last year, we had to miss a trip up to see my dad’s side of the family.
Last month, we were forced to miss the wedding of a cousin on my mom’s side because my wife and I couldn’t afford to take the day off of work. At the end of this month, I’m going to have to miss the wedding of a cousin on my dad’s side because I’d have to miss a day of work and my wife would have to miss a class, which is something neither of us can do. I wanted to go to both of them because, except for pictures on Facebook, none of them has ever seen my baby girl. None of them have held her, or laughed at her antics, and it’s killing me.
Now, when I see my daughter playing with her cousins, I’m envious. Not only will she be growing up near all of her cousins, she is (with the exception of the twins) within 3 years of age with all of them (including her cousin on her mother’s side). While they won’t always get along, that will mean that she’s got five boys (who she will undoubtedly have wrapped around her finger like she has the rest of the family) that will be willing to do anything for her. If anyone is ever mean to her, three of those boys will be able to beat that person up (the twins are too old to be beating up people her age). I hope she enjoys it.
I also hope that all of my cousins know that, even though I can’t see them as much as I want to, I love them all.